2018-06-08 / Letters

Ranked choice voting improves elections

To the editor,

I am increasingly dismayed by the tenor of Republican opposition to the use of ranked choice voting in the June primaries. Opinion pieces and a string of lawsuits might lead you to believe that ranked choice voting is some sort of underhanded scam.

Don’t take their word for it. Learn more at www.mainerankedchoice.vote

A ranked choice election is simply a complete series of runoffs in which voters record their selections on a single ballot. Ballots are scanned once and software handles the successive rounds of analysis without anybody recounting the ballots – or returning to the polling place.

Your vote remains with your first-choice candidate until that candidate either wins or is defeated.

The risks inherent in choose one contests are clear. Imagine a committee of 10, tasked with selecting a paint color. Eight arrive at the first meeting with a maroon paint chip, each in a slightly different shade.

Two are carrying the exact same shade of orange. Nobody expects the committee to head out for orange paint, even though orange has twice as many votes as any other color.

As it happens, the Maine Republican party uses a series of sequential runoff elections to elect internal officers.

Much like the ranked choice protocol, the lowest ranking candidate is eliminated in each successive round.

In that context, they appear to recognize the benefit of selecting leaders with broad appeal, rather than the one who has the most first choice votes.

If you’re planning to vote in a party primary on June 12, you will also have an opportunity to vote yes on the people’s veto to save ranked choice voting from almost certain repeal.

If you don’t plan to vote in a party primary, please find time to vote on the people’s veto.

Debra McDonough
Scarborough

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